Please Note: A Beka does not sell their materials to Exodus Books. The following overview is meant to help you evaluate A Beka as a curriculum, and give you some other options to consider as well.
A Beka's history is comprehensive. A complete K-12 curricula, it uses the spiral approach to bring kids to an understanding of the global events that have shaped our current situation. (In history, the spiral approach simply means that important topics are brought up again and again, each time in more depth.) The focus is on United States history and social studies, with a strong patriotic zeal undergirding each text. Students are taught to view history from a providential perspective, to see God's hand at work throughout the story of mankind.
The publishers emphasize that their approach is not Hegelian or Marxian, in which history is seen as a series of conflicts and resolutions (resulting in new conflicts). Instead, their approach is positive, seeing the progress of God's plan. The United States is seen as a nation built on Christian principles which needs desperately to be brought back to those principles. A Beka stresses that their history course is strenuously conservative and Christian in approach.
Each paperback student text is filled with colorful illustrations and straightforward text. Each grade is typically supplemented by answer keys, tests, quizzes, map-related activities, civics workbooks and lesson/curriculum planners. While all these extra materials may help reinforce the material, you can get by with just the student text (consumable worktext through grade 4) and answer guide. Teacher guides provide suggestions for presentation, background information, and ideas for group activities, though again this course is intended as more or less student-guided.
Grades K-4 focus on United States history and social studies. Kids learn the basics about how our country was founded, its government and legal systems, basic rules for public life, and geography. Other countries are touched on only briefly and mostly in passing. There is a lot of discussion in the first books about the flag and its significance. Grade 3 is unique in that it is a collection of biographies of important Americans (though the presence of some and absence of others seems a bit haphazard—Billy Sunday is in, Patrick Henry is out).
Grades 5-8 are standard history texts, alternating between Old and New World history and geography. These years lay a foundation for high school by familiarizing students with key events and figures in a chronological sequence. The teacher guides encourage teachers to have their students memorize the facts, names and dates of history, which can seem pretty daunting to a youngster staring at a page full of unfamiliar information. Still, if they can internalize what they learn during these years, their high school study will be much easier.
Grade 9 is world geography, concentrating on understanding the physical and demographic characteristics of the earth, both now and in the past. Grades 10-11 are world and U.S. history, with a focus on ideologies and philosophies rather than events and people (though obviously both are involved). There are two texts for grade 12, one for each semester, the first covering American government and the second dealing with economics (domestic, public and international).
Throughout the series, the authors are self-consciously careful to maintain strict conservatism. Government is portrayed, not as an end or cure to mankind's problems, but as ordained by God for the dispensation of justice. Free-market economy is unapologetically held up as the standard, the dangers of Communism, socialism and liberalism consistently held up in contrast. Students are encouraged to be "intelligent" in their patriotism, but nevertheless to be devoted to their country.
This is a solidly Christian course. Whether or not it is solid history is open for debate. Kids will certainly get a good introduction to basic events and movements, but may not understand the context and subtleties of a lot of what they're learning. For instance, in the world history texts the British Empire of Queen Victoria is consistently represented as the bringer of Christianity to the world—while glossing over the abuses and terrors the British Army inflicted on various native peoples. Likewise, as mentioned above, the 3rd grade text includes a biography of Christian revivalist Billy Sunday, but not of patriots Paul Revere or Patrick Henry.
To be fair, Revere and Henry are both discussed in later texts, and if you stick with the whole program your kids will get a pretty good understanding of the basic flow of history. However, if you're detail-oriented and concerned with a full, unbiased presentation of the truth, you will probably be dissatisfied with A Beka's selective methods of history presentation.
The attempt to interpret everything according to biblical principles is also a bit contrived. Not that we shouldn't hold everything to the standard of Scripture, but there comes a point in history education where you just need to present the facts and A Beka seems to have a hard time distinguishing that line. Again, your child could certainly gain a reasonably good grasp on history from this curriculum (especially the later books), but if you're going to stick with A Beka history we recommend you supplement with other, less biased material.